11/23/17

The Secret to Crispy Turkey Skin

Perfect Turkey Skin

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

I picked up this trick a few weeks ago from a fellow chef’s blog (I wish I could remember, but whoever you are, thank you!) and tried it for the first time with this year’s Thanksgiving turkey…it’s magic!

First of all, I ALWAYS brine my turkey, which, while making for moist, succulent meat, can cause problems with getting the skin, saturated by the brine, to crisp and brown evenly. And, let’s face it…crispy is skin is the whole reason for roasting a turkey in the first place!

Here’s the trick to perfect, crispy skin on a brined turkey…

Brine your bird for 24 hours (this is the brine I use).

Then, remove the bird from the brine, pat it dry (inside and out), and place it breast-side-up in a baking dish in the bottom of your fridge, UNCOVERED, for another 24 hours.

Remove from the fridge 2 hours before roasting, and let it rest on the counter.

Then, of course, roast it uncovered.

The skin on this turkey was amazing, by far the best results I’ve ever gotten.

If you’re a skin-junkie (that didn’t sound right…) like me, you gotta try this!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

~Chef Perry
chefperryperkins.com

07/20/17

Cooking Perfect Artichokes

How to know when artichokes are done

Just posted this article over at chefperryperkins.com, and thought I should add it here as well! ~Chef P

My Facebook friend Anna asks:

How long should you boil artichokes? Mine always seen to come out either under-done or mushy. How can you tell when they’re just right? Thanks Chef!

My response:

Hey Anna, thank YOU for the questions! Everyone at my house are total artichoke fiends, lol, so I cook tons of ’em. While there are a lot of ways to prepare these beauties, boiling fresh artichokes is one of the original and classic methods, and how most restaurants still do it today.

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Make sure to pick ripe ones. California artichokes (buy American!) are available all year, but peak season is March through May and again in October. You want them to feel more like a softball than a baseball when you give ’em a squeeze. You can also hold the artichoke next to your ear, and squeeze its leaves with your fingers. If you hear a squeak, the artichoke is extremely fresh, and a good one to buy.

Artichokes should feel disproportionately heavy for their size. This indicates that they still have plenty of natural moisture and will be packed with flavor.

Avoid any that have a lot of dark spots, dried/cracked leaves, or if the stem feels mushy or isn’t nice and green. Never store your artichokes in the fridge, or in a plastic bag, both will hasten spoilage. Some will disagree on the fridge thing, but my rule of thumb, after many years of professional cooking, is, if it ain’t refrigerated in the store, I don’t refrigerate it at home.

And I have to say it…my Dad, regardless of what restaurant he was working in, or how far in the weeds, always shouted, “You might’a choked Artie, but you ain’t gonna choke me!” whenever he dropped them in the pot. I do the same. Call it good mojo.

Read the rest of this article, here, on my Chef Perry Blog!

06/8/17

When Good Kids Cook Bad Food (and what to do about it)

teaching kids to cook

When Good Kids Cook Bad Food (and what to do about it)

Excerpt from: “The Home Chef’s Guide to Cooking with Kids.”
Coming Soon.

teaching kids to cookLearning to cook from a father who’s also a professional chef, isn’t always…fun.

I’m not talking about these television “stand and stir” celebrity chefs who smile, and make jokes, and have a team of cooking-college pukes doing all their mize off camera, either. I’m talkin’ about OLD SCHOOL chefs, the kind who viewed an 8oz steel ladle as a “tool of instruction”, if you know what I mean.

If you’ve ever cooked with me (and I apologize) try to imagine a guy who looks a lot like me, but with a hair-trigger temper, even less patience, and a MUCH more relaxed attitude toward profanity and volume.

Now, don’t get me wrong, my dad was a GREAT dad, he just wasn’t a very congenial teacher. I struggle with this myself (ask my wife about her one and only cooking lesson some time…) but I try to do a better job of keeping my emotions, and expectations, in check when working with my own daughter in the kitchen.

This morning was a good example…

The Pickle decided, as a celebration of the first day of summer vacation, that she was going to cook me breakfast. A lovely thing that happens more and more often these days. (Woo-Hoo!)

This morning she decided to make French-style scrambled eggs, a specialty of hers, but she got a little…exuberant…with the spices. WAY too much salt and pepper and, even on a burger roll, it was almost inedible.

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Now, while my father would likely have just tossed the whole thing in the trash and told me to “do it right this time”, I paused, took a breath, and thought about the opportunities in the situation.

First (and it’s important that this be first) what was GOOD about the dish? Well, the eggs were cooked perfectly, exactly the light and fluffy consistency that I like. Likewise, the toast with exactly the right shade. Looking in the kitchen I could see that the ingredients had been put away, and the cookware, if not washed, had at least been moved to the sink, and the eggs were still hot when she served it.

These are all simple, but very important, elements of a finished dish, and I made sure to let her know that she’d done that right.

teaching kids to cook

1. Inspiration will always produce better results than fear.

teaching kids to cookWorking closely with at-risk kids, many of whom have never (literally) boiled water before, has taught me that fear and anxiety, which most of these kids are already dealing with, will do nothing but increase the likelihood of an injury or mistake. My personal philosophy is that the younger the child, the more praise and encouragement is required. Are they holding the spoon right?

Praise them!

Did they crack that egg without getting any (or very little) shell in it?

Praise them!

Do they just generally seem to have a good attitude and are willing to listen?

PRAISE THEM!

Basically, go watch a few episodes of Hell’s Kitchen, and do exactly the opposite!

You see, no one is born knowing how to cook, or enjoying the tasks required to do so. When we’re praised for something, the brain creates new neural pathways and releases endorphins and dopamine to the pleasure centers of the brain, increasing the likelihood that we will remember to do it THAT WAY again, because doing it THAT WAY makes us feel good.

teaching kids to cook

Negative feedback also creates these pathways, but as a warning NOT to do it that way, which may seem like a good thing, but it’s not. Negative feelings (or lack of dopamine reception) triggers the human flight response, because, on an instinctive level, it’s easier to just NOT do it again (run away), than to risk doing it wrong.

This is why a lot of people don’t “like” to cook…their brain tells them it’s going to make them feel bad, and so they should avoid it.

And, before you start asking, “If YOUR dad was so tough, why do YOU love to cook?” it’s because as much as Chef Frank could rant, and rail, and slam frying pans, he also knew how to PRAISE.

When I did something right, he made a big deal out of it, he bragged to others about it in front of me. I guess you could say he made me feel good MORE than he made me feel bad, and though (at least in my case) that might sometimes work, it’s a risky way to do things.

teaching kids to cook
Also, it’s important to remember that any time a child brings you something they’ve made, even a bowl of mashed bananas covered in powdered sugar, they’re offering you a part of themselves, they’re giving you a precious gift and trusting you with it, and their goofy little brains can’t always distinguish between you rejecting a SANDWICH, and you rejecting THEM.

BUT (and there’s always a big butt) as much as patience, and praise, and making it “feel good” are important, there are still absolutes in the kitchen, there are rules, and reasons for those rules, and it’s far easier to establish those from the beginning, than to try to add them in later.

We observe the safety rules: proper knife handling, bar mops in place for handling hot pans, appropriate clothing for cooking (protective of heat and splatters, not slip, foot-protecting shoes, nothing too loose or baggy that might catch fire, long hair pinned back, or under a cap, keeping our station free of clutter and dirty cookware to avoid accidents, etc.

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We understand that, outside of the professional kitchen, clean-up is part of the cook’s job.

Cookware is rinsed, dishwasher is filled, and counters and stove-tops are wiped down BEFORE we eat. One of the greatest gifts you can give a child is to teach them to clean-up as they go. This is a habit that will make their whole life easier, inside and outside the kitchen.

Oh, and a modern-day tip on praise? Take pictures of your kids cooking and/or their finished dishes, and post them for your friends and family to see. To a 9y/o having another adult come up to them and say, “Wow, that omelet you made last week looked SO good!” is a really, really big deal.

2. Every mistake is a learning opportunity.

First of all, EVERYBODY makes a bad dish now and then. I’ve been cooking, personally and professionally for more than 4 decades, and I will still, on occasion, put out a stinker.

An important truth to remember is that, if you really want to master a craft, cooking or anything else, and you’re NOT making the occasional mistake…you’re not trying hard enough, and you’re not growing your skills. It’s been said, and I believe it, that “Good cooking comes from experience, and experience comes from bad cooking. Every mistake is a learning opportunity.

This morning’s eggs were an opportunity to reinforce three important cooking principles to my daughter:

a. Sometimes, less is more. Great cooking isn’t about a laundry list of spices and ingredients, it’s about knowing what to DO with them, and when. If the main ingredient is egg, you want that to be the dominate flavor, and not buried under a bunch of spices.

b. A smart chef under-seasons while cooking, and re-seasons before plating. Or, as my dad used to say, “It’s a hell of a lot easier to add more salt, than to take it back out!” Which leads to…

teaching kids to cookc. Always, always, ALWAYS taste your food as you go! First of all, it’s educational. If you’ve ever tasted a spoonful of beef bourguignon just on the heat, it’s a nasty, depressing thing.

But when you taste is again after hours of simmering and reducing, allowing the flavors to marry and the alcohol to cook off, you realize that there’s something transformative, almost magical, that you can do to raw ingredients when you understand certain techniques and when to use them.

No dish should ever be plated without a final tasting, and any adjustments required (if any) at that point.

Here are a couple of more tips:

1. Have a plan, and work the plan

Even when you’re having them start a dish from scratch, YOU, as the teacher, should already know exactly what needs to be done. Make sure you have all of the ingredients, the proper cookware, and anything else needed for the dish.

Make sure it’s something YOU know how to make, so you’re ready to step in with advice and guidance if things start to go off plan. Nothing is more discouraging to the learner than having to scrap a dish because they weren’t supplied with the right ingredients and tools. It’s like the old saying, “Never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to!”

teaching kids to cook
2. Never teach in a rush, or under pressure

Trying to teach an 8y/o how to make turkey gravy when you’re cooking six other dishes and have a dozen family members showing up in two hours for Thanksgiving dinner is…bad. (And half those dishes should have been cooked days in advance…what were you thinking?”)

I kid, I kid…sorta.

Teaching, well…anything requires a calm, focused head, and getting frustrated and demonstrating that cooking is stressful and no fun, is the last thing you want to do. Teach when you have the energy, the positivity, and the TIME to do so. A smart chef knows when to order a pizza, too.

3. Then, always have a Plan B.

Speaking of pizza…what’s for dinner if that casserole catches fire, or a cup of salt is mistaken for a cup of sugar? Don’t make your child feel guilty for “ruining dinner, and NOW what are we going to eat???”

When the Pickle’s in charge of dinner, I know in advance that if the spaghetti turns into a solid ball of gluten, or the chicken gets immolated, there’s sandwich fixin’s, or omelet ingredients, or the phone number for the local delivery place, close at hand. Praise what went right, discuss what went wrong, and then laugh it off and go eat dinner.

How about you? Any nuggets of wisdom to add, either as the learner or the teacher, for encouraging a little chef?

Have FUN,

Chef Perry
chefperryperkins.com

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04/5/17

Easy Oven Pulled Pork: Good to Great in 4 Steps

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I’m going to un-rein my ego for just a moment to say…I make great pulled pork.

In fact, I make amazing pulled pork, and it’s always hugely popular at our cook-outs (not as popular as Chef Chris’ smoked brisket, but let’s not get into THAT, right now…)

That said, I cringe every time see these recipes for “Amazing Pulled Pork in the Crock-pot!”…um, I don’t think so.

Not to diss anyone’s favorite recipe, ’cause I’m sure it’s good, but I don’t understand the whole crock-pot thing. You’re not roasting, you’re steaming, and steaming won’t create that awesome brown bark that’s so loaded with the flavor that makes pulled pork so amazing!

There’s also some technical differences in the cooking temp and times involved that effect how the collagen in the meat becomes gelatine, and creates a completely different texture in the finished product…but I won’t get all Alton Brown on you in this post.

I think you can get GOOD pulled pork from a slow cooker, but I’ve tried many, many of these recipes, and honestly? I have a sneaking suspicion that anyone who thinks they’re “amazing”…has never had amazing pulled pork.

That’s 20 years of doing old-fashioned pit-smoked bbq, talking!

(…and, no…what I’m talking about here isn’t as good as that, but I’ll swear on my favorite sauce recipe that it’s the next best thing!)

The crazy part it, it’s just not that much harder to make it this way… but the end result is so much better!

Amazing Pulled Pork in the Oven!
Perfect oven pulled pork(Above: your perfect pork shoulders, about 8 hours in.)

Here it is, so easy…

  1. Coat 1 boneless pork shoulder heavily in rub, and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Mix 1 cup each hot water, apple juice, and cider vinegar, with 1/4 cup mesquite liquid smoke, and pour into the pan with the shoulder.
  3. Roast, uncovered, fat side up, in a 225 oven for 14 hours (overnight works great). Remove from oven and allow to rest 30-45 minutes.
  4. Drain off the juices, shred the meat (two forks work great) and mix back in the broth. Let rest another 15 minutes, and serve.

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

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Again, I hope I’m not offending anyone, but if it doesn’t have bark, it isn’t pulled pork.

If you disagree, try this recipe and then tell me so!

– Chef Perry

PS – Lookin’ for an awesome pork dry rub? Check out the one we use on our Perfect Oven Pork Ribs…just as tasty on pork shoulder, believe me…I know! :)




04/1/17

It is done

The Home Chef Book

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

IT’S DONE.

How do you write a book on how to save the world?

When I started this project, over two years ago, I had no idea how all-encompassing it would become. Unlike my blog, or the “Caja” cookbooks, which practically write themselves, this was more than just how-to’s and recipes (though, rest assured, there are plenty of those), this manuscript included deep, wide, unpredictable rivers of philosophy and conviction, unexplored dark chasms of learned opinion, personal bias, and (often cynical) worldview, as well.

It was easy to get lost. The sheer volume of hubris, alone, required to assume such a goal is exhausting.

Every idea, it seemed, birthed two more, and each of those two more again, growing exponentially into a fertile rabbit-warren of thoughts, questions, arguments, and hundreds of hours of research, fact-checking, testing, photography, formatting, and more than a dozen re-writes (In fact, I ditched the whole damn thing, twice, as just being too much of an information dump.)

The toll on myself and my family was much higher than I could have expected in the beginning, but it would have been impossible without their amazing patience, support, and occasional kick in the ass.

But here we are. Today, the book releases, it is done…

Consummatum est.

So, how do you write a book on how to save the world?

As someone once said, it’s a bit like watching hippos have sex. Scary in places, hilarious in others, a little awkward, and once it gets going, you want to stay out of its way.

Most of all…you’ll know when it’s done.

It’s done.

Enjoy…

~Chef P

11/7/16

Basic Knife Skills that will keep all your fingers attached

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This is the first lesson we teach the kids in the MY KITCHEN Outreach Program…

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11/3/16
the difference between stuffing & dressing

The difference between dressing and stuffing

the difference between stuffing & dressing

With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, I posted a very brief chef’s rant on this subject a couple of days ago, and I was amazing to learn how many people actually didn’t know the difference between “stuffing” and “dressing”.

So…

It’s only “stuffing” if you cook it INSIDE the bird. If you cook it OUTSIDE the bird, it’s “dressing” (A dressing is placed around the protein on a plate or platter, to “dress” the dish.)

Want some more great holiday tips and recipes? Check out or free Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide!

Typically, I do both…what doesn’t fit inside the turkey is baked in a dish. Then we mix the two together to spread the tasty flavor if the turkey drippings throughout.

Doesn’t stuffing from inside the bird make you sick?

Oh, and I had a friend on FaceBook ask: I always thought stuffing was the best way to give everyone salmonella for thanksgiving, what are your thoughts?”

My response:

Nah, but then I don’t think that Elvis was abducted by aliens and is still alive on the planet Zorb, either.

The stuffing myth is based on the stuffing staying in the “danger zone” for an extended period of time.

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newsletter:

The three rules of safe stuffing:

1. Never stuff a bird with cold stuffing, as the meat will dry out long before the stuffing is cooked. Always stuff with cooked (or at least heated) stuffing,

2. Stuffing should be COOKED in the bird, not LEFT in it. Remove stuffing from the bird while still hot, and serve separately.

3. Not quite as important as the first two, but not a bad idea…once you remove the stuffing from the bird, spoon it into a casserole dish and pop it under the broiler for 10-15 minutes (watch closely so it doesn’t burn) or until it reaches an internal temp of 165F.

The added bonus to this step is you get a lovely, golden, breadcrumb crust across the whole surface.

Thanksgiving stuffing in muffin pans

If you want to fancy this up a bit, brown the stuffing in a muffin pan, and serve individually.

So, no…I’m not concerned with the “no stuffing” myth, follow the safety rules, and you’ll be fine.

Personally, I’d be more worried about getting sick from a grocery store turkey! 😉

A better way

By the way, there is a third option, which I feel…in my not-so-humble opinion…trumps both of the aforementioned styles. Check it out in yesterday’s “Perfect Turkey” post!

This has been a public service announcement, we now return you to your regularly scheduled political griping and Starbucks bashing… :)

Chef Perry
joinmykitchen.com

09/20/16
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Making soup…Samurai style

Perfect chicken soup recipe

Okay, first things first, a couple of statements to divert the inevitable snarky, know-it-all, blog-nazi  comments…

I know that “Asian” is a common generality, which is typically a bad thing in most subjects and even more so when plastered over the subject of cuisine…

I know that “Samurai” (or more correctly “Bushi”) were specifically the military nobility and officer caste of medieval and early-modern Japan, and not any of the other countries I reference…

I know that these two words are then, obviously, a contradiction in terms…

HOWEVER…that said, ‎I like alliteration, it’s my blog, and it makes for a snappy post title, so I’m going with it. 😉

Okay…done with that.

The reason for this post, and recipe, is that after much happy experimentation, I am of the not-so-humble opinion, that “Asian” cultures are the gods of broth and stock-based soups (cream soups and bisques, stews and chowders, I might give the nod to France, but this ain’t that post…)

That said, what makes the soups of Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, etc., etc., so amazing is more about technique than ingredients…though they certainly have some amazing ingredients…the most basic difference between how “they” make soup, and how “we” make soup, is technique, most importantly the technique of prepping each individual ingredient separately for optimum taste, instead of simply tossing them in a pot (or, God-forbid, a slow cooker) to become a one-note burbling homogeneous cauldron of meh.

Example: If you’ve ever seem a properly prepared bowl of pho being made, and you really should, it’s amazing…you’ll note that the bowl is first loaded with cold cooked noodles, cold cooked meat, and raw veggies, then, filled with boiling-hot stock, to bring everything to a balanced temp.

This allows each ingredient to maintain its own specific flavor and  uniqueness, but still maintain the crunchy texture of the veggies, the perfect texture of the meat (brisket and tendon, please) and the chewy elasticity of properly cooked noodles (this, btw, is the same reason that ramen is best when the noddles are cooked, cooled, and the dipped in hot stock at the last moment, on the way to the mouth).

So, I said to myself, “Self…what if I tried this classic style, this “cook first, then assemble” technique, of Asian-style soup cooking, with that most classic of Western soups, Chicken Vegetable. (The fact that my wife and daughter are sharing a horrific cold this week, didn’t hurt in the decision making process of the test subject, either…)

So, here we go! (Spoiler: it’s awesome…)

Chicken Vegetable Soup using “Asian” Techniques

For the stock:
Bones and skin of 1 rotisserie-roasted chicken
1 whole head of roasted garlic
1 cup roasted carrots, chopped
1 cup roasted celery, chopped
1 lemon, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped and packed
2 Tbs. fine sea salt
1 Tbs. ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. whole fennel seed

1/4 cup sweet cream butter

For the soup:
3 ears fresh sweet corn, cut from cob
2 cups carrot rounds
2 cups celery chunks
1/2 cup shallot, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
2 cups diced rotisserie chicken

The best Chicken Soup Recipe

Rotisserie Chicken (I prefer Costco)

Debone one whole rotisserie chicken, save bones for stock, and meat for soup.

Roasting veggies for chicken soup

Roast celery, carrots, and onions on at 450F oven until browned (but not burned).

Best chicken soup recipe

Combine chicken bones, skin, roasted garlic, ginger, parsley, lemon, fennel seeds, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Add roasted veggies, cold water to cover, and bring to a simmer.

Best chicken soup recipe

Dice carrots, celery, shallot, ginger, and set aside.

Best chicken soup recipe

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Cut fresh corn kernels from ears, set aside.

Chicken soup stock

Strain meat and veggies from stock, and whisk in butter.

Veggies for chicken soup recipe

Pan-sear diced carrots, celery, shallot, and ginger i a little stock, until just starting to soften. Add a little salt and pepper to taste.

The best chicken soup recipe

Assemble pulled chicken, sauteed veggies, and raw corn in a bowl.

Perfect chicken soup recipe

Ladle simmering broth over the top of the veggies, taste for salt and pepper, and top with fresh chopped Italian parsley.

Perfect chicken soup recipe

Optional additions: Rice noodles, soy sauce, Thai fish sauce, jalapeno slices, Sriachi sauce.

ENJOY!

Chef Perry

 

08/1/16
How to reheat an IN-N-OUT burger

How to reheat an IN-N-OUT (or any) Burger

In N Out Burger Double Double

Had the good fortune to stop at the Medford, Oregon IN-N-OUT Burger last night on our way home from the International Food Blogger Conference in Sacramento.

I, of course, grabbed a half dozen extras to bring home for the fam. When I finally rolled in around 1am, I was too exhausted to eat, so the whole box went into the fridge for later, and I collapsed into bed.

This morning, I posted a picture of my treasure on Facebook, and a friend of mine replied, Hamburgers taste horrible after being refrigerated.

To which I replied, “Not if you know how to reheat them, they don’t.

In retrospect, I realized (as  I often do…) that my knee-jerk response, while correct, was a little snarky and not particularly helpful. Also that, while perhaps a bit of a buzz-kill, my friend was technically correct ~ a cold, congealed burger is a pretty awful thing.

God doesn’t want that.

So, in the sincere hope that nothing as glorious as a Double Double Animal Style is ever eaten chilled, or even worse, microwaved, I give you…

How to reheat an IN-N-OUT Burger

How to reheat an IN-N-OUT Burger

First of all…never, EVER, reheat a burger fully assembled!

Microwaving is about the worst thing you can to to both ground-beef, and lettuce. The way the microwave works in by causing water molecules to vibrate at high speeds until they get hot. This is an instant method for draining all the good juices out of a burger patty, as well as rupturing the water-holding cells in your lettuce, turning it into limp, gray, sludge.

  1. Take the veggies off and put them back in the fridge. If you can’t replace them with fresh, shock them in a little ice water just before serving (be sure to pat them dry.) This will crisp them back up…some.

How to reheat an IN-N-OUT Burger

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  1. Seal the buns, single layer, in a zip bag, and set aside at room temp.

How to reheat an IN-N-OUT Burger

3.  Heat 1/4 inch of chicken stock or water in a microwave-safe container (with a lid) big enough to lay   the burger/cheese patties in a single layer. Heat the liquid until steaming, then set the patties in (liquid should not cover, just be on the bottom). Set the bagged buns on top. Place the lid on and set aside for 2-3 minutes.

 

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  1. Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.

How to reheat an IN-N-OUT Burger

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  1. If the buns are soggy out of the fridge, you can toast them, cut sides down, in a dry pan first (optional), or if they’re just plain cheap burger buns, use fresh one (they’re like 8 for a dollar, you cheap bastard…)
  1. When meat has heated through, and the cheese is soft, drain the patty on a paper towel, reassemble and enjoy!

How to reheat a hamburger

You can do the same in a liddled skillet. Just make sure it’s off the heat (move to a cold burner) before adding the meat.

How to reheat a hamburger

Personal opinion: ANY hot sandwich, once assembled, should be wrapped fully in foil and allowed to “rest” at least 5 minutes.

 

05/10/16
Super easy chicken stock

The easy way to make real chicken stock

easy oven roasted chicken thighs

A good chicken stock is the key to so many great dishes in the kitchen. It’s the base for your pan sauces, gravies, flavoring for rice, pasta, and potato dishes, and a fantastic steaming medium for fresh, seasonal veggies. It’s the Chef’s go to for thinning, and deglazing pans.

Growing up in my father’s restaurants, the first thing we did after turning on the lights and firing up the fans, was to start chopping veggies and roasting bones for a giant pot of stock, which would simmer all day on a back burner, getting ladled out for specific dishes all night long.

But…that’s a lot of work in a restaurant, and even more work at home. So, let’s take a shortcut that will give us a delicious stock (in smaller quantity) to use in your recipes, and keep us away from that nasty, salty, bullion water that comes in boxes and cans.

For this stock you’ll need just four ingredients…
(per quart of stock)

  • 1 gallon distilled water
  • 4 deli roasted (not fried) chicken thighs, bone in/skin on
  • 4 stalks of fresh celery, diced*
  • 2 shallots, chopped

(Other great ingredients you can add are sliced mushrooms, fresh peeled garlic, Italian parsley, carrots (for sweetness), fresh basil, etc.)

Be careful adding salt, or salty ingredients, as it will effect the seasonings in your final dishes.

*Volatile compounds in celery (3-n-butylphthalide, sedanenolide, and sedanolide), enhance the umami flavors in chicken and other poultry stocks. That’s one reason that celery is often a key ingredient in chicken-based soups and turkey stuffing.

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Super easy chicken stock

Add all ingredients to a large pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, and cook until reduced by half (about 90 minutes), chopping up the chicken thighs as they get tender.

Super easy chicken stock

Strain your stock and dispose of solids. Return the liquid to the pot (after wiping the pot clean), and bring back to a simmer. Cook until reduced by half, again.

NOW, taste your stock and adjust salt and seasoning.

Wing tip chicken stock recipe

If you would like to reduce the amount of fat in your stock (I don’t, lol) refrigerate overnight, and then remove the solid fat that rises to the top.

Wing tip chicken stock recipe

You can throw this fat away, or (better) save to to fry with as you would butter. Jewish cooking calls this fat “schmaltz” and it makes the best scrambled eggs ever!

Stock will keep 2-3 days in the fridge, or several months in the freezer. I like to freeze it in ice-cube trays, so it’s ready in pre-portioned cubes when I need it.

Wing tip chicken stock recipe